Strategic Communication in Public Health
Boston University School of Public Health - Summer Institute
Designing communication strategies to support a public health intervention is a multifaceted and complex skill, which requires careful preparation, logical thinking, and creativity, at the same time being based in theory and evidence. There is no recipe to follow, but rather a set of interrelated issues to consider when developing a coherent and workable plan.
This program focuses on the development and execution of a planned communications strategy for a public health organization that is responsible for a community-based intervention. The program also features a review of basic theory and research that can inform the health communications process. Participants will identify a public health intervention for which they want to develop an accompanying communication plan.
They will also develop a communications strategy and prepare several media executions to advance the communications strategy, which may include a pitch letter with infographic, press release, commentary/editorial, letter to the editor/online blog, scheduled press event, social media platform (i.e., Twitter feeds, Facebook pages), interview, elevator pitch, video, and prototype of a mobile app.
Participants will learn to:
- Think strategically about the use of communications to advance a public health organization’s goals and objectives;
- Identify the strengths and weaknesses of different communications options;
- Provide a rationale for selecting a communications strategy, which is grounded in the available published literature and reflects both scientific and practical considerations;
- Prepare a strategic plan for a focused communications strategy that is theory-driven, science-based, practicable, and evaluable;
- Utilize a variety of communications tools, including pitch letters, press releases, commentaries and editorials, letters to the editor, blogs, mHealth, interviews, and scheduled press events.